Decisions and dogmatism

Decisions. We’re faced with them every day. Large, small, complicated or easy. We all have to face them at some point. Making and sticking to decisions can be a challenging task, and everyone has their own way of tackling them. Being decisive can be a very rewarding character trait. To be decisive means to master a number of other skills and attitudes. Decisiveness can therefore be viewed as an “umbrella term” for a collection of skills and attitudes.

Dogmatism is one of the attitudes that should be mastered in order to be more decisive. When we’re dogmatic we hold on to a set of views no matter what the circumstances. From a decision making context, the set of views would be equivalent to the information which supported the decision before it was made.

You ideally just want to stick with a decision and get on with life or business, given that you’ve probably already invested a significant amount of time towards making it. But this isn’t always possible, especially if new evidence appears. Dogmatism can become an issue after a decision has been made.

The appearance of new evidence after making a decision can sometimes generate a bit of a storm in the mind. Your mind can become full of conflicts between the information you initially used to support making the decision, and this new evidence. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. The new evidence might be so important that changing your mind about your original decision would be the right thing to do. By doing so, you would ensure that you are treading along the right track and are avoiding any unwanted circumstances.

However, you may choose to focus your attention only on the information which supported the decision before the new evidence appeared. There could be any number of reasons why you would want to do this; the main one being that you’re aware of the amount of effort you put in to identifying the information which supported the decision in the first place. This is when dogmatism becomes a problem. You’re not willing to release your attachment to the original information in the presence of important new evidence.

However, a dogmatic attitude can be a blessing in the presence of new evidence that would clearly put you in an unfavourable situation, if it was used as the reason to change your mind about a decision.

In the presence of new evidence, it’s worth asking yourself whether or not adopting a dogmatic attitude is going to be beneficial. Dogmatism shouldn’t be an automatic response, it should be a measured choice.

Written by Prashant Jadav. For more information about coaching and personal development support, please get in touch here.